20th November 2018

The latest review of the legislation protecting wildlife has concluded that the challenges associated with the protection of internationally important bat populations in England arise from how the legislation that protect bats are implemented, and not with the laws themselves: ‘It is clear from both business and conservation groups that the Habitats Directives should be maintained and enforced – the issue, for both ecologists and infrastructure providers, is the practical process of enforcement’.

The Red Tape Initiative (RTI) was set up by the government as a non-partisan project to look at what regulatory changes could benefit both businesses and their employees in a post-Brexit Britain. The RTI, chaired by Sir Oliver Letwin MP, had an advisory board made up of Conservative, Labour and Liberal Democrat politicians. The RTI carried out its research through a series of meetings and roundtables between April 2017 and October 2018. The findings were published on 17 November and are available from the RTI website HERE.

Review of the legislation protecting wildlife

While the RTI report contains a series of 37 proposals to cut bureaucracy in areas such as housing, infrastructure and energy when the UK leaves the EU, its conclusions on bat conservation state: “The RTI commends the work already being done to ensure bat species are conserved, as well making it easier for developers to understand and plan around the system. We recommend that the projects and pilots should be rolled out as soon as they are ready, and that the relevant government departments – Defra and the Department for Communities and Local Government – should work with Natural England, the Local Authorities, the NGOs and the construction industry to ensure that this process moves forward with consensus.”

Numerous reviews have now come to the same conclusion, namely that our nature legislation is fit for purpose. Now is the time for the UK Government to start implementing its own recommendations in order to demonstrate a commitment to upholding high standards. To do this, there is also a need for an independent watchdog with the power to hold Government and its agencies to account when necessary.

Kit Stoner, CEO of the Bat Conservation Trust, has stated that: “It is good to see the RTI review has concluded that challenges associated with the protection of internationally important bat and newt populations in England arise from the implementation of the laws that protect these species, and not from the laws themselves.”

The full RTI report can be downloaded here: https://3ldr5vily7ji9rz3ygdxeekt-wpengine.netdna-ssl.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/11/RTI-November-2018-Report-FINAL.pdf

A blog has also been published along with our partners in Wildlife & Countryside LINK: “Better implementation and enforcement of nature laws needed” https://www.wcl.org.uk/better-implementation-and-enforcement-of-nature-laws-needed.asp